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European Journal of Operational Research 146 (2003) 284301

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The impact of ERP on supply chain management:


Exploratory ndings from a European Delphi study
Henk A. Akkermans a,1, Paul Bogerd b,2, Enver Y
ucesan c,*
,
c,3
Luk N. van Wassenhove
a
Eindhoven University of Technology, Technology Management, P.O. Box 513, 5600 MD Eindhoven, The Netherlands
b
Minase, Heuvelring 69, Postbus 278, 5000 AG Tilburg, The Netherlands
c
INSEAD, Technology Management Area, Boulevard de Constance, 77305 Fontainebleau Cedex, France
Received 27 June 2002; accepted 27 June 2002

Abstract

This article presents results from a Delphi study on the future impact of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems
on supply chain management (SCM). The Delphi study was conducted with 23 Dutch supply chain executives of
European multi-nationals. Findings from this exploratory study were threefold. First, our executives have identied the
following key SCM issues for the coming years: (1) further integration of activities between suppliers and customers
across the entire supply chain; (2) on-going changes in supply chain needs and required exibility from IT; (3) more
mass customization of products and services leading to increasing assortments while decreasing cycle times and in-
ventories; (4) the locus of the drivers seat of the entire supply chain and (5) supply chains consisting of several in-
dependent enterprises.
The second main nding is that the panel experts saw only a modest role for ERP in improving future supply chain
eectiveness and a clear risk of ERP actually limiting progress in SCM. ERP was seen as oering a positive contribution
to only four of the top 12 future supply chain issues: (1) more customization of products and services; (2) more
standardized processes and information; (3) the need for worldwide IT systems; and (4) greater transparency of the
marketplace. Implications for subsequent research and management practice are discussed.
The following key limitations of current ERP systems in providing eective SCM support emerge as the third nding
from this exploratory study: (1) their insucient extended enterprise functionality in crossing organizational bound-
aries; (2) their inexibility to ever-changing supply chain needs, (3) their lack of functionality beyond managing
transactions, and (4) their closed and non-modular system architecture. These limitations stem from the fact that the
rst generation of ERP products has been designed to integrate the various operations of an individual rm. In modern
SCM, however, the unit of analysis has become a network of organizations, rendering these ERP products inadequate
in the new economy.
 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

*
Corresponding author. Tel.: +33-16-072-4017/4000; fax: +33-16-074-6158/5500.
E-mail addresses: h.a.akkermans@tm.tue.nl (H.A. Akkermans), paul@minase.com (P. Bogerd), enver.yucesan@insead.edu (E.
Y
ucesan), luk.van.wassenhove@insead.edu (L.N. van Wassenhove).
1
Tel.: +31-40-247-2230; fax: +31-40-246-4596.
2
Tel.: +31-13-544-3468; fax: +31-13-544-6864.
3
Tel.: +33-16-072-4266; fax: +33-16-074-6158.

0377-2217/03/$ - see front matter  2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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H.A. Akkermans et al. / European Journal of Operational Research 146 (2003) 284301 285

Keywords: Supply chain management; Enterprise resource planning systems; Delphi study

1. Introduction Interestingly enough, a second business-driven


phenomenon, enterprise resource planning (ERP)
After two decades of streamlining internal op- is sweeping across industry at the same time. ERP,
erations, boosting plant productivity, improving the logical extension of the material requirements
product quality, and reducing manufacturing planning (MRP) systems of the 1970s and of the
costs, companies are focusing on supply chain manufacturing resource planning (MRP II) sys-
strategies as the next frontier in organizational tems of the 1980s, is now a de facto standard in
excellence. One reason for these initiatives may be industry.
the substantial cost reductions to be achieved from Two considerations make this simultaneous
improving logistics performance. In Europe, lo- development very interesting. The rst is that, al-
gistics costs range from 6% to 15% of total turn- though from a managerial decision making per-
over (AT Kearney, 1993). In the United States, spective the two trends are quite closely linked,
American companies spent $670 billion on logis- they seem to be evolving independently in indus-
tics and supply chain-related activities in 1993, try. ERP is a comprehensive transaction man-
corresponding to 10.5% of GDP (Kurt Salmon, agement system that integrates many kinds of
1993). Another reason appears to be the advent information processing abilities and places data
of the network economy (Castells, 1996; Arthur, into a single database. Prior to ERP, this pro-
1996), which is triggering profound changes in the cessing and data were typically spread across sev-
scope and impact of supply chain management eral separate information systems. For example, a
(SCM). In this network economy, the totally ver- rm could have separate systems for purchasing,
tically integrated business rm may be becoming order management, human resources, and ac-
the exception and ever changing networks of or- counting, each of which would maintain a separate
ganizations the rule (Tapscott, 1996; Kelly, 1998; data source. ERP would subsume these into a
Fine, 1998). Markets are becoming more trans- single seamless system. Researchers have pointed
parent, customer demands are being met in a more to information system fragmentation as the pri-
customized manner (Pepper and Rogers, 1999; mary culprit for information delays and distor-
Jensen, 1999) and, in general, the rate of change in tions along the supply chain (McAfee, 1998).
the business world keeps increasing (Brown and Information delays and distortions, in turn, cause
Eisenhardt, 1998; Gleick, 1999). All these devel- the famous bullwhip phenomenon (Forrester, 1961
opments are having a profound impact on the and Lee et al., 1997). An ERP system could po-
ways in which supply chains of (extended) enter- tentially enhance transparency across the supply
prises are to be managed. chain by eliminating information distortions and
The literature on new business models for the increase information velocity by reducing infor-
Internet age is growing rapidly (e.g., Chesborough mation delays. Hence, there is reason to believe
and Teece, 1996; Downes and Mui, 1998; Malone that ERP adoption could be associated with sig-
and Laubacher, 1998; Porter, 1998; Tayur et al., nicant gains in supply chain eectiveness. But
1998; Hagel and Singer, 1999). In particular, Fine despite the presence of such close interactions,
(1998) is emphasizing that, as the business envi- many supply chain improvement programs and
ronment changes, supply chain design as opposed ERP implementation eorts appear to be managed
to supply chain coordination is becoming a core independently by dierent people.
competency. His theory-building work is being The other reason why the simultaneous rise in
followed up by empirical research conrming his the focus on ERP and SCM is so interesting is that
ndings (Mendelson and Pillai, 1999). academics appear to be far less interested in ERP
286 H.A. Akkermans et al. / European Journal of Operational Research 146 (2003) 284301

than they are in SCM. For instance, Fine (1998) priateness of a dynamic perspective on current
does not even mention the term, despite the inte- SCM trends, show how ERP can both support and
grative potential of ERP systems. In fact, one can limit these SCM trends, and give underlying rea-
argue that very little academic research has been sons for the potentially limiting role of ERP here.
done on ERP, except for research on reasons for We discuss these ndings and their business and
implementation and on the challenges of the im- technology implications in Section 6. Section 7
plementation project itself (Upon and McAfee, concludes the paper.
2000; McAfee, 1998; Austin and Nolan, 1999;
Davenport, 1998). In the eld of operations man-
agement, this is reminiscent of the academic 2. Supply chain management in the network econ-
treatment of MRP II and JIT, important industry omy
phenomena of the past two decades. Little re-
search was conducted on these phenomena and We view a supply chain as a network consisting
therefore few well-grounded recommendations of suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, retailers,
could be provided in a timely manner to compa- and customers (Fig. 1). At the operational level,
nies struggling with these complex undertakings this network supports three types of ows that
(e.g., Burns et al., 1991, for MRP II and White require careful planning and close co-ordination:
et al., 1999, for JIT).
Our research is therefore aimed at rekindling material ows: which represent physical prod-
academic initiatives focusing on the interactions uct ows from suppliers to customers as well
between ERP and SCM. From the above historical as the reverse ows for product returns, servic-
perspective, it should be clear that, in an explor- ing, and recycling;
atory phase, we feel we should rst listen to information ows: which represent order trans-
practitioners. What do experts from business, who mission and order tracking, and which coordi-
recently have been or are currently going through nate the physical ows; and
ERP implementations, think about its strengths nancial ows: which represent credit terms,
and weaknesses with respect to challenges in busi- payment schedules, and consignment and title
ness and SCM? To address this question, we have ownership arrangements.
set up a Delphi study with 23 Dutch supply chain
executives, all working for European multi-na- The network, in turn, is supported by three pillars:
tionals. From this study, it became clear that there
are indeed close interrelations between SCM and processes: which embed the rms capabilities in
ERP. Moreover, these interrelations are not all logistics, new product development, and knowl-
positive. Our exploratory ndings suggest that edge management;
ERP is seen as contributing to SCM in technical
areas such as standardization, transparency, and
globalization. Our experts also found that current
ERP systems can be limiting progress in SCM
from a strategic perspective because of their low
exibility and their typical single-company scope.
The remainder of the paper is organized as
follows. Section 2 introduces our working deni-
tions for SCM. Section 3 analyzes how ERP could
be expected to support SCM initiatives. Section
4 describes the design of our Delphi study. The
results from the Delphi study are presented in
Section 5. These results fall in three areas: they
reconrm from a practice viewpoint the appro- Fig. 1. An integrated model of the supply chain.
H.A. Akkermans et al. / European Journal of Operational Research 146 (2003) 284301 287

organizational structures, which encompass a This dynamic view is particularly important in a


range of relationships from total vertical in- fast-evolving world where new products and
tegration to networked companies as well as emerging distribution channels necessitate a con-
management approaches, and performance tinuous review of supply chain design decisions.
measurement and reward schemes; and We will refer to the rate of change in products,
enabling technologies, which include both pro- processes, technologies, and organizational struc-
cess and information technologies. tures within an industry as that industrys clock-
speed. Just like product design has an enormous
Supply chains perform two principal functions impact on manufacturing performance, superior
(Fisher, 1997): the physical function of transfor- supply chain design oers signicant payos in
mation, storage and transportation, and the mar- managing and coordinating supply chain activi-
ket mediation function of matching demand and ties.
supply. While the physical function has been ex- This dynamic view may necessitate dierent
tensively studied within the production control perspectives (or mappings) for supply chain de-
and inventory management literature with a view sign. These perspectives include: organizational
to locally minimize cost, innovative approaches to supply chain, capability supply chain, and tech-
the market mediation function were suggested only nology supply chain (Fine, 1998).
recently. These customer-oriented approaches, which
focus on coordination in the entire chain, are An organizational map shows all the entities in a
classied in Fig. 2. companys extended supply chain and illus-
Supply chain design is concerned not only with trates all value-adding activities performed by
the specication of customer zones, selection of each organization along the chain.
manufacturing and distribution facilities, and al- A focus on technology, on the other hand,
location of product families to these sites, but traces the lines of dependency upstream to the
also with the prioritization of the capabilities to suppliers and downstream to the customers,
be developed and retained internally, and the who provide and use, respectively, key technol-
forging of new partnerships with other entities ogies along the supply chain.
along a supply network. According to Fine (1998), Finally, a focus on capability aims at identifying
supply chain design ought to be thought of as a the key business process capabilities, which cur-
dynamic process of assembling chains of capa- rently exist as well as which are desirable, along
bilities and not just collaborating organizations. the supply chain.

Fig. 2. Matching demand and supply in a supply chain.


288 H.A. Akkermans et al. / European Journal of Operational Research 146 (2003) 284301

Note that such mappings are also consistent functional perspective. We discuss each of these in
with our thinking on the three pillars supporting some detail below.
the supply chain (Fig. 1). One way of looking at ERP is as a combination
Supply chain coordination, is concerned with of business processes and information technology.
the coordination of the three types of ows once For instance, J.D. Edwards, an American ERP
the supply chain design is nalized. Eective sup- system vendor, denes ERP as an umbrella term for
ply chain strategies (Fig. 2) combine a range of integrated business software systems that power
approaches from operational exibility such as the a corporate information structure, controlling a
make-to-order (MTO) or postponement capabil- broad range of activities, from the procurement of
ity, channel alignment (e.g., vendor-managed in- supplies to shop oor control and nancial ac-
ventories, VMI), and joint decision making through counting. It provides the glue that binds manage-
information deployment (e.g., collaborative plan- ment functions across geographic sites and complex
ning, forecasting and replenishment, CPFR). heterogeneous networks. From a more strategic
These approaches, in turn, typically lead to new perspective, JBA, a British consulting rm, views
forms of organizational structures (e.g., process ERP as a business approach that starts in the
orientation) and new forms of interorganizational boardroom and permeates the entire organization.
collaboration (e.g., outsourcing via third-party From a technical perspective, ERP can be seen
service providers or contract manufacturers). This as the logical extension of MRP systems of 1970s
transformation has coincided with the emergence and of MRP II systems of 1980s. ERPs impact,
of information and communication technologies however, has been much more signicant. Fol-
facilitating closer collaboration and promoting lowing the American Production and Inventory
supply chain transparency. Technological break- Control Societys (APICS) MRP Crusade, sales
throughs, particularly in information technology, of MRP software and implementation support
can signicantly enhance both the eciency of the exceeded one billion dollars in the United States
network operations and the eectiveness of cus- by 1989. Worldwide sales of ERP packages to-
tomer service on a global basis. gether with implementation support, on the other
Fine (1998) argues that all competitive advan- hand, have exceeded fteen billion dollars at the
tage is temporary. From this perspective, supply turn of the century with annual growth rates of
chain solutions can, at best, be temporary as well. over 30%. In spite of the signicant slowdown in
In other words, SCM is a dynamic challenge that IT spending, ERP is expected to become a 10-
requires a series of solutions in the face of chang- billion dollar industry by 2004. A recent survey
ing industry requirements. The validity of a partic- by Fortune magazine revealed that seven out of
ular supply chain solution is therefore determined the top ten global pharmaceutical and petro-
by the clockspeed of the industry, which reects leum companies, nine out of top ten global com-
the rate of change in products, processes, tech- puter companies, and all of the top ten global
nologies, and organizational structures in that in- chemical companies are using SAPs R=3.
dustry. Functionally, an ERP system primarily sup-
ports the management and administration of the
deployment of resources within a single (though
3. Enterprise resource planning systems possibly multi-site) organization. These resources
can be materials, production capacity, human
Our research focuses on understanding the im- labor, or capital. Roughly speaking, current ERP
pact of ERP systems on supply chain performance. systems contribute to this aim by providing three
Our objective is to establish conditions under dierent types of functionality:
which ERP can be a critical enabler or a severe
handicap for superior supply chain performance. A transaction processing engine, allowing for
There are dierent ways of dening ERP: a busi- the integrated management of data throughout
ness perspective, a technical perspective or a the enterprise;
H.A. Akkermans et al. / European Journal of Operational Research 146 (2003) 284301 289

Work ow management functions controlling cation between dierent departments across


the numerous process ows that exist in the en- business processes (McAfee, 1998).
terprise, such as the order-to-cash process or
the purchasing processes; Implementing an ERP system in a company
Decision support functions, assisting in the cre- is normally a formidable task. A typical ERP im-
ation of plans (e.g., by doing an MRP run), plementation initiative takes anywhere between
or in deciding on the acceptance of a specic one and three years and typical budgets are in tens
customer order (e.g., by performing an avail- to hundreds of millions of dollars. Clearly, there is
able-to-promise (ATP) check). an urgent need for understanding the costs and
benets of ERP, the implementation challenges,
As a result, ERP provides the following busi- and the management of the system once it goes
ness functionality: live. Yet, in spite of the explosive growth of the
ERP ecosystem, very little academic research has
ERP systems have replaced a myriad of old, been done on the business impacts of ERP systems
undocumented, non-integrated legacy systems once they are implemented. Recently, several sur-
by state-of-the-art, integrated and maintainable veys by management consultancies and research
software. It is hard to overestimate the crucial institutes have shown that, in general, ERP im-
importance of this obvious point. As an illustra- plementations so far have yielded very little busi-
tion, during the preparation of our workshop, ness benets (Buckhout et al., 1999). Popular press
one interviewee described a real-life situation and trade journals have documented both stellar
where a relatively simple change in the logistic successes and miserable failures (AVNET, 1999),
process (direct, and therefore cross-border, de- but with very little explanation on the underlying
livery form factory to customer) was found to causes. The current paper is a rst attempt at un-
be very sensible. However, implementation of derstanding the causal relation between ERP and
this process had to be canceled because it would SCM.
involve the modication of six separate IT sys-
tems. Just the eort needed to convince their
owners to agree to the change was already ex-
pected to be higher then the potential savings. 4. Research method
The number of local IT systems to be replaced
by an integrated ERP system usually runs into 4.1. A Delphi study research design
the dozens up to a hundred or more in multi-
national companies. Since academic literature is relatively thin
ERP systems provide an enterprise transaction compared to the vast experience accumulated by
backbone that constitutes the glue between all practitioners in implementing ERP systems, we felt
kinds of best-of-breed solutions for specic pro- that it would be sensible to develop our initial
cesses or business areas. It allows these best- theories by listening to experts from business. For
of-breed solutions to leverage the investments this type of exploratory, theory-building research,
made in the ERP systems, and partly explains a Delphi study is an appropriate research design.
the impressive ROIs achieved by these solu- In general terms, the Delphi study is a method for
tions. structuring a group communication process so
ERP systems can be instrumental in transform- that the process is eective in allowing individuals
ing functionally oriented organizations into to deal with complex problems (Linstone and
process oriented ones. The very nature of the Turo, 1975; Delbecq et al., 1975). The Delphi
ERP system forces one to think process-wise, technique lends itself especially well to exploratory
rather than department-wise. Indeed, some of theory building (Meredith et al., 1989; Neely,
the unexpected benets of ERP implementa- 1993) on complex, interdisciplinary issues, often
tions may well stem from improved communi- involving a number of new or future trends
290 H.A. Akkermans et al. / European Journal of Operational Research 146 (2003) 284301

Table 1 4.2. The Delphi workshop script


Industry backgrounds of participants in the Delphi study
Sector # Participants On June 30, 1999, all participants convened for
Automotive 2 the day in a room that enabled GDSS-supported
Chemicals 5 conferencing in both plenary and subgroup mode.
Consumer electronics 2
The analytical goals of the day were clearly ex-
Food & beverages 2
Logistics service providers 7 plained at the start of the workshop:
Petrochemicals 1
Semiconductors 2 1. identify key SCM trends;
Telecommunications 2 2. assess the expected business impact of these
Total 23 SCM trends;
3. assess the expected ERP support for these SCM
trends;
(e.g., Klassen and Whybark, 1994; Akkermans 4. identify key limitations (if any) in current ERP
et al., 1999). systems for eective SCM support.
One essential characteristic of the Delphi study
is the group size of at least 20 respondents to In order to obtain these results, an eight-step
overcome risks of individual biases contaminating workshop script was employed (visualized in Fig.
the aggregate responses. A group size of 23 supply 3). Horizontal bars indicate the number of dier-
chain executives from a variety of industries (Table ent items that resulted from each step.
1), where ERP and SCM are both very important
facts of contemporary business life, satises this Step 1: Position and dene SCM and ERP.
condition. Moreover, all participants were selected In order to avoid confusions regarding termi-
on the basis of their personal experience in these nology, a brief explanation was given by one of the
two intersecting areas of interest. authors. Broadly speaking, this explanation was
Another dening characteristic of Delphi stud- not too dierent from the contents of Sections 2
ies is the opportunity of receiving feedback on and 3 of this article. It summarized what was
earlier comments as well as the opportunity of known from the literature prior to the Delphi
further elaboration on the basis of that feedback. study.
In this particular research design, this feedback Step 2: Generate SCM trends (22 items).
was almost instantaneous and continuous, thanks Next, participants were asked to key in 23 key
to the use of an electronic group decision support SCM trends. Like in nominal group technique
system (GDSS) (Nunamaker, 1989; Eden and (NGT), this was on an individual and anonymous
Radford, 1990; Jessup and Valacich, 1993). This
GDSS (the package used was group system of
ventana systems) projected respondent comments
on a central screen and on each participants in-
dividual screen immediately after these were typed
in on the laptop computers that were available to
everyone. Participants could read everybody elses
entries, they could comment on them or add fur-
ther explanatory texts to their own original entries.
All such entries were done anonymously. Mean-
while, participants could also conduct oral discus-
sions with their neighbors or with the facilitators.
Insights from these conversations usually quickly
found their way into entries submitted for reading
by the entire group. Fig. 3. Analytic steps in the Delphi study.
H.A. Akkermans et al. / European Journal of Operational Research 146 (2003) 284301 291

manner, ensuring a broad range of topics sub-


mitted and preventing group think biases
(McGrath, 1984). Unlike NGT, participants could
see what items had already been submitted, which
provided the advantage of eliminating duplicate
entries. This resulted in a total of 22 SCM trends.
Step 3: Group SCM trends (12 items).
Further clustering was attempted in the next
step. The group evaluated the submitted SCM
trends one by one to see if they could be combined
with one or more others. Whenever possible, items
were grouped, but all original information was
retained. This process led to a remaining set of 12 Fig. 4. Business impact of SCM initiatives and ERPs contri-
key SCM trends. bution.
Step 4: Prioritize SCM trends (12 items).
Voting took place over these 12 trends. Each
participant could choose 3 trends he/she felt to be Step 6: Select ve SCM trends for subgroup dis-
most important. This resulted in a ranked list of cussion.
still 12 items, reproduced in Table 2 to be Five trends from the top-12 list were selected
discussed in Section 5.1. Strictly speaking, this for a more in-depth discussion. Five subgroups of
analytical step was not required to proceed to steps participants volunteered for each of the ve spe-
58, but was felt to yield useful insights in its own cic topics. Trends 1 (Integration), 3 (Customiza-
right. tion), 4 (Driver seat), 6 (Info exchange), and 10
Step 5: Assess SCM trends on business impact (Transparency) from Table 2 were selected in this
and ERP support. manner.
Participants were then asked to rank the top-12 Step 7: Identify ERP limitations (22 ITEMS).
SCM trends on two dimensions: the expected The ve subgroups of four to ve experts were
business impact of each trend and the degree in given a number of questions regarding their se-
which ERP could be expected to support or hinder lected topic. A key question for our present in-
this trend. These assessments were aggregated and vestigation was What shortcomings do current
the overall scores were displayed visually on a ERP systems exhibit in supporting this particular
scatter plot similar to the one shown in Fig. 4. SCM trend? Participants conducted their discus-
These results are discussed in detail in Section 5.2. sions once again both orally and via the GDSS.

Table 2
Voting results on key trends in SCM (Top-12 of 22)
Key issues in SCM Votes (%)
1. Further integration of activities between suppliers and customers across the entire chain 87
2. How to maintain exibility in ERP systems to deal with changing supply chain needs? 57
3. Mass customization: complex assortments, shorter cycle times, less inventory 39
4. Who will be in the drivers seat in supply chain co-ordination? 35
5. Supply chains consisting of several enterprises 35
6. Full exchange of information with all the players in the chain 35
7. Further outsourcing of activities such as physical distribution, nance & administration 30
8. Enhancements of IT-tools required to integrate the dierent parties in the supply chain 30
9. Globalization: how to build worldwide ERP systems? 26
10. Greater transparency of the global market place 26
11. Internet technology will be the backbone to connect systems of partners in the chain 26
12. Standardization of processes and information denitions, the rest is IT infrastructure 22
292 H.A. Akkermans et al. / European Journal of Operational Research 146 (2003) 284301

Table 3
Shortcomings of current ERP systems for SCM from group discussions of selected themes
Shortcomings of current ERP systems mentioned, grouped by common threads From discussion group on theme:
1. Lack of EE functionality: the ability to support operations across multiple organizations
 EE functionality 1. (Integration)
 EE functionality 4. (Driver seat)
 ERP systems miss linking across the boundaries of enterprises 7. (Transparency)
 ERP systems do not interconnect easily with other than partner systems 7. (Transparency)
 Information exchange between parties is underdeveloped 1. (Integration)
 Ability to support multiple coding system to enable cross-company implementations 1. (Integration)

2. Lack of exibility in adapting to ever-changing supply chain needs


 Flexibility to adapt to changing business models 3. (Customization)
 Flexibility to adapt to changes in business processes 7. (Transparency)

3. Lack of more advanced supporting functionality beyond transaction management


 Flow-based information exchange instead of ordering-based 1. (Integration)
 MRP-based instead of nite capacity; ERP required 1. (Integration)
 Advanced planning systems with proven functionality 3. (Customization)
 Connections with tactical decisions 4. (Driver seat)
 From transactions to information for decision support 4. (Driver seat)

4. Lack of open, modular, internet-like system architectures


 Modular set of systems 4. (Driver seat)
 Module manager for the supply chain 4. (Driver seat)
 Connectivity 3. (Customization)
 Web-enabled ERP 6. (Info exchange)
 Let Microsoft buy Baan 6. (Info exchange)

5. Various
 IT (network technology, big, shared databases, XML,. . .) 6. (Info exchange)
 Customization will remain necessary 1. (Integration)
 Identication of barriers and developing business cases to overcome these 6. (Info exchange)

The Delphi session was concluded by a plenary the results of the rst four steps of the workshop
discussion of the subgroup results as noted down script as described in the previous section. It shows
in the GDSS, which led to some additional re- the top-12 SCM trends for the coming years as
nements to the analysis. seen by our panel of experts. Section 5.2 focuses
Step 8: Cluster ERP limitations (ve remaining on the perceived contributions of ERP systems to
ITEMS). these key SCM trends, again based upon a group
A wrap-up and a dinner concluded the day. assessment from our panel. Section 5.3 concen-
Afterwards, the authors removed redundancies trates further on those ERP characteristics that
from the ve lists of ERP shortcomings. This were deemed as negative.
resulted in 22 dierent items. These have been
clustered into ve main groups (Table 3). The im- 5.1. Key trends in supply chain management for the
plications from this list are discussed in Section 5.3. coming years

The rst phase of our Delphi workshop con-


5. Delphi study ndings sisted of constructing a ranked list of key SCM
trends, or issues, depending on how much one
This section describes the main empirical results welcomes these developments, for the coming
from the Delphi workshop. Section 5.1 describes years. In our workshop script described in Section
H.A. Akkermans et al. / European Journal of Operational Research 146 (2003) 284301 293

4, this corresponds to steps 14. Table 2 shows the seat; power will be wielded by the entity with the
results from those steps. Perhaps the most striking next breakthrough technology.
nding is that the results are not that striking at What does seem to be a dierenceat least of
all. That is, the top priority items generated by emphasisbetween this practitioner forum and
these European SCM professionals, based on their the Fine (1998) framework is the focus on infor-
practical experiences in their daily work, seems to mation exchange and IT that emerges from espe-
correspond very well with our description of SCM cially the lower half of the Top 12 in Table 2. This
priorities from an academic perspective in Section may quite possibly be at least partly due to the
2. We illustrate this by briey discussing each of overall theme of the workshop, which was after all
the key trends from our clockspeed perspective. the impact of IT on SCM. Nevertheless, it cannot
Just about every panel expert sees further inte- be denied that the remaining trends focus more on
gration of activities between suppliers and cus- information exchange and technology required to
tomers across the entire chain as one of the three make all the above-mentioned clockspeed phe-
biggest trends in SCM (Trend #1, 87% of votes). nomena happen.
This coincides with a strong trend towards mass Greater and faster-changing demands from
customization (Trend #3, 39% of votes). Both customers will need to lead to faster and more
trends may have a similar root cause, i.e., in- comprehensive information exchanges between all
creased competition driven by growing consumer the players in the chain (Trend #6). In terms of
power helped by an increasing transparency of the technology, this will not just mean better ERP
global market place (Trend #10). Ever-increasing systems but, in general, enhanced IT-tools to in-
customer requirements such as mass customiza- tegrate the dierent parties in the supply chain
tion translate into operational challenges such as (Trend #8). Internet technology is most likely to
complex assortments and short cycle times. Fur- provide the technological means for doing so
thermore, rapidly changing customer requirements (Trend #11). This will make distributed architec-
not only tolerate very little inventory in the supply tures possible, in which standardization takes
chain, but also require drastic modications in place mainly at the level of information denitions
supply chain topologies. This poses a dicult and processes (Trend #12), so that local exibility
challenge to ERP systems: how to maintain su- in information usage can be maintained up to a
cient exibility when supply chain needs keep point. Needless to say, all these developments are
changing (Trend #2, 57% of votes). As if to ensure taking place on a global scale. Hence, IT for SCM
seamless integration between suppliers and cus- in general, and ERP systems in particular, will
tomers, our #1 trend, would not be enough of a have to be developed on a worldwide basis (Trend
challenge to ERP systems in its own right! #9).
Our panel of experts recognizes the diculty of
a single organization to satisfy the changing re- 5.2. Expected impacts of ERP on SCM trends
quirements of consumers. They expect that supply
chains will consist of several enterprises (Trend Fig. 4 reects the output of Step 5 of our
#5) and that non-core activities such as physical workshop script, which was a simple form of
distribution and F&A will be increasingly out- multi-criteria analysis. It shows the aggregate
sourced (Trend #7). An important issue for our scores of each of the top-12 SCM trends from
panel then becomes who will be sitting in the Table 2 on two dimensions: the expected business
drivers seat in this chain (Trend #4), since impact of each trend and the degree to which ERP
conventional power mechanisms no longer apply could be expected to support or hinder this trend.
in a network of independent rms. What may be The rst observation to be made from this
an unsettling perspective for our panel of experts scatter plot is that our experts were, in general, not
is that Fine (1998) clockspeed perspective asserts overly optimistic about the contribution of ERP to
that supply chain managers may simply have no future SCM developments. Only three, or perhaps
say in the decision of who will be in this drivers four of the twelve key SCM trends are perceived as
294 H.A. Akkermans et al. / European Journal of Operational Research 146 (2003) 284301

being supported by ERP, the rest is perceived to be subgroup discussions on ve themes selected from
hindered by ERP systems. In subsequent sections, the twelve top SCM trends identied earlier on.
we will go deeper into the reasons for this hin- Frequently, multiple subgroup discussions men-
drance. Broadly speaking, ERP seems to be hinder- tioned similar ERP shortcomings for dierent
ing the more strategic business trends (integration, SCM trends. This explains why, for instance,
drivers seat, outsourcing, extended enterprises extended enterprise functionality is mentioned
(EEs)). At the same time, ERP is seen to provide twice in this table. This is because both the group
support for the more technical issues such as stan- discussing the SCM issue of Integration of ac-
dardization and global IT systems. tivities between suppliers and customers across the
There are two clear exceptions to this conclu- entire chain (Trend #1) and the group on Who
sion that the strategic SCM-ERP link is negative, will be in the drivers seat in supply chain co-
while the technical SCM-ERP is positive. The rst ordination? (Trend #4) arrived at the conclusion
is that the technical issue of the need to have IT that current ERP systems are not helpful in these
tools that will integrate the supply chains of mul- areas because they do not support operations
tiple partners (Trend #8), is seen to be hindered by across multiple organizations. We now discuss the
current ERP systems. We will return to this issue four clear clusters that emerged out of these sub-
in the next section. The second is that the strategic group discussions.
issue of mass customization (Trend #3) is per- (1) EE functionality: The lack of extended en-
ceived as being supported by ERP systems. While terprise functionality is indeed the rst and most
our Delphi panel was referring to the interface prominent common thread that emerges from the
with the nal customer, the ability to congure a subgroup discussions. Current ERP systems are
customer-specic order into production may well developed to manage the goods ow within a
be a strategic asset aorded by ERP systems. single enterprise under central control, but the
market is moving towards interorganizational
5.3. SCM Limitations of current ERP systems supply chains. Our panel of practitioners sees ERP
systems as dicult to interconnect with other
The nal part of the Delphi workshop (steps 6 systems, leading to underdevelopment of infor-
8) were intended to explore why current ERP mation exchange between parties.
systems are not perceived to be helpful for many of (2) Flexibility in adapting to changing supply
the key SCM trends for the coming years. Our chain needs: A second shortcoming of current ERP
analysis focused on the shortcomings of ERP systems is their inexible nature. As one logistics
systems, rather than their current advantages for manager remarked: All our eorts in continuous
SCM, because shortcomings provide opportunities improvement on the production oor have rst
for improved IT support for SCM. The ERP been frozen for a year and a half by our ERP
industry has become a tightly knit ecosystem of package implementation. Now we are still strug-
software vendors, middleware vendors, supply gling to get it operating properly. And from then
chain experts, specialty-software houses, and on, any change that is to be supported by our IT
hardware vendors. This ecosystem is also evolving system will have long delays and high costs be-
fairly rapidly in an eort to provide eective sup- cause of the diculties in making changes to the
ply chain solutions. It is therefore important to system. This same point has been made by Upon
understand the capabilities aorded by the current and McAfee (2000), who also note the dierence
technology and to identify the desirable features of between continuous improvement approaches and
future versions. the big bang approach inherent to current ERP
Desirable features of future ERP systems, or, systems. As customer demands continue to change
negatively formulated, shortcomings of current ever more rapidly, and business processes and
ERP systems, were indeed identied by our panel supply chain structures have to adapt ever more
of experts. Table 3 lists the main shortcomings in quickly in response, ERP systems should not be
current ERP systems as they were generated in stiing process innovation but accommodating it.
H.A. Akkermans et al. / European Journal of Operational Research 146 (2003) 284301 295

(3) Beyond transactionsmore advanced sup- player in that chain (Trend #4). Also, it would
porting functionality: For most of the experts on improve communication with the nal customer,
our panel, as for the vast majority of rms having directly of via customer systems, less cumbersome
implemented ERP systems, ERP implementation than it is today, (Trend #3, mass customiza-
means that they have implemented a transaction tion).
management system. In itself, this was a necessary
investment in infrastructure to end IT fragmenta-
tion. Hence, it is no longer necessary for a sales- 6. Discussion
person to write down a customer request taken
over the telephone and spend the following two In this section we reect on the exploratory
days guring out whether the customer request can ndings from the Delphi workshop as described in
be satised. The new system makes the supply the previous section. In this section, we identied
chain fully transparent, enabling the salesperson to three sets of ndings: (1) a prioritized list of SCM
answer the customer inquiry right away. The ERP trends; (2) contributions of ERP to selected SCM
system is usually also capable of guring out the trends, (3) shortcomings of ERP in supporting
best way to deliver the product to the customer, other SCM trends. We have seen that our panel
invoice the customer, and credit the salesperson. identied similar SCM trends as are identied in
However, available to promise (ATP) is an emerg- the recent literature. Regarding the latter two sets
ing concept within ERP circles. The challenge is of ndings, we reiterate that there is little or no
not to gure out whether the customer order can literature to be found, i.e. literature that links ERP
be satised with the goods available somewhere with SCM. Therefore, our discussion focuses on
along the supply chain, but to decide whether it is these.
economically meaningful to allocate supply chain
capacity to this potential order. The ATP concept
6.1. SCM opportunities for ERP
is one of the examples of system functionality
moving beyond transaction management towards
Our panel of experts identied a number of key
more tactical decision support functionality. The
SCM trends for which ERP provides clear sup-
lack of this kind of functionality was also men-
port. These were, in order of decreasing business
tioned in dierent subgroup discussions as a
impact, (1) mass customization, (2) standardiza-
shortcoming of current ERP systems.
tion and (3) global IT/ERP systems.
Open, modular, internet-like system architec-
tures: Current ERP packages have integrated sys-
tem architecture. This enables them to cover most 6.1.1. Mass customization
of the transactions in the various functional de- Mass customization, tailoring a product to meet
partments of purchasing, production, sales, dis- the specic needs of an individual customer (Pine,
tribution, HRM and F&A. Typically, they 1993), involves the delivery of a wide variety of
integrate transactions across dierent geographical customer-specic goods or services quickly, e-
or business units. In this sense, they are a great ciently, and at low cost. Mass customization
improvement over the fragmented patchwork of therefore combines the advantages of mass pro-
local legacy systems that they tend to replace duction (such as Ford Model T) and craft pro-
(Davenport, 1998). However, integration also has duction (such as tailor-made suits). ERP supports
its drawbacks. According to our panel, the chal- mass customization only if customers can cong-
lenge for current ERP systems is to move to a ure their products as a combination of a number of
more modular, internet-like system architecture. predened options. The emergence of congura-
This would improve information exchange with all tors in the ERP ecosystem supports this aspect of
the players in the chain (Trend #6) and make the mass customization. A congurator in this con-
power structures in extended supply chains less text is a computer program that translates indi-
dependent on the ERP system of the dominant vidual customer demands into feasible product
296 H.A. Akkermans et al. / European Journal of Operational Research 146 (2003) 284301

specications. Using such a congurator, it be- ERP is helping here. It facilitates consistent be-
comes possible to start an assemble-to-order pro- havior among all supply chain partners by having
cess. The integration provided by the ERP system harmonized processes and by providing access to a
would ensure that the unique product ordered single source of data. In addition, by standardizing
by the customer is properly translated into the data and processes, ERP technically enables con-
appropriate production orders. Moreover, the sistent performance measurement for their own
sophistication of current ERP systems makes it enterprise as well as for monitoring their partners
possible to construct catalogues containing a large performance.
number of standard end products. Seen from the supply chain perspective, some
We have observed this type of functionality ERP vendors have set a de facto standard in cer-
generally in the low-volume high-tech environ- tain industries (e.g. SAP in Oil and Gas; Baan in
ments. It is still to be seen whether ERP will be Aerospace). This helps in the standardization of
able or even required to support the massive vol- business processes and data models across entire
umes of unique customer orders (and thus: pro- sectors, even more so because ERP implementa-
duction orders) in a high-volume environment. tions are often based on best-practice process
For commodity products, the customization di- templates. Such a convergence around process
mension is not achieved in the product itself, but templates may create uniform information ows
rather in the services associated with it, i.e., the and process structures within an industry. This
personal customer prole that is maintained and convergence may make dynamic recongurations
the personal delivery of goods ordered. of supply chains within that industry easier.
As with almost any type of functionality, a rich
industry of best-of-breed solutions running on top 6.1.3. Global IT
of ERP does exist. The level of sophistication Globalization of businesses requires worldwide
provided by these solutions varies from modest ERP implementations. The main issue with global
(just click on the options you want) to very high ERP implementations is not as much technology:
(where rule-based expert system functionality sup- state-of-the-art in IT allows for accessing an ERP
ports the user in dening the best product cong- system from any location in the world. Moreover,
uration meeting a set of functional requirements, as ERP systems are increasingly web-enabled, the
while checking on completeness and consistency). technical limitations diminish even further. Com-
These types of systems are typically found in the pared to the old legacy systems, ERP does provide
high tech electronics industries. signicant benets: some of them lie in their
technical architecture (client/server computing),
6.1.2. Standardization others stem from their functional (multi-lingual,
We consider standardization from two dier- multi-currency and time-zone capabilities). The
ent points of view: the enterprise-internal per- real issues in global IT are mostly of an organi-
spective and the supply chain-wide perspective. zational nature. In other words, some organiza-
Starting with the former, an enterprise wide ERP tional choices have to be made prior to technology
system does have a huge impact on standardiza- deployment. These choices include:
tion of both processes and data. ERP allows for
ecient processing of, for example, engineering To what extent does a global company really
changes in bills of material or updates in customer need- or want-harmonized processes? Where
data. does one draw the line between local and global
Regarding standardization of processes, ERP processes?
almost enforces processes through its use of best- Should the company standardize systems or in-
practice templates. Increasingly, suppliers and terfaces? The former option enforces similar
customers, who operate at a pan-European or processes on a global scale; the latter option al-
global scale, expect consistency in all contacts with lows local-for-local processes, but ensures stan-
the enterprise, regardless of geographic location. dardized communication channels between any
H.A. Akkermans et al. / European Journal of Operational Research 146 (2003) 284301 297

parts of the organization. If one truly believes in 6.2.1. Lack of extended enterprise functionality
the networked economy, the latter option is the In our opinion, EE functionality entails the
preferred one, as it supports dynamic supply ability to share internal data eciently with supply
chain design. In particular, the conguration chain partners and to accommodate the data made
of the enterprise as a network of cooperating available by your partners. This data sharing can
business units will evolve continually: with a be deployed either for operational decision making
high frequency business units will enter and or for calculating supply chain-wide performance
leave the network. Having a monolithic, global measures. Moreover, EE functionality enables
ERP system will put severe constraints on this business processes that are distributed over mul-
agility. tiple organizational entities. For instance, in a
The time needed to do a global roll out of ERP classical order capturing process, this would mean
(where it might take up to 10 years) will prohibit doing a distributed ATP check, delegating the
a truly global, harmonized system. credit check to a nancial service provider, and
relying on a logistic service provider to be able to
6.2. SCM shortcomings of current ERP systems promise a specic delivery time window.
ERP systems lack EE functionality. However,
Our industry experts highlighted four short- one could not realistically expect EE functionality
comings in ERP: (1) EE functionality, (2) exi- to be available in the current ERP systems be-
bility in adapting to changes in the environment, cause, by their design, ERP systems focus on
(3) more advanced decision support functionality managing only internal resources in an integrated
and (4) lack of (web-enabled) modularity. In our manner. It is possible to overcome these short-
view, the fourth shortcoming is the root cause for comings by implementing a range of add-ons, such
the former three. When it would be possible to as connectivity software, processware (a specic
have plug and play modularity, preferably even type of connectivity software that oers not only
hot swappable components (as is the case with pure data exchange facilities, but also some ele-
modern disk storage devices), the exibility needed mentary logic reecting specic business process
to follow dynamic business processes could be ows), data warehousing tools, or supply chain
achieved. Web enabling these modules would even execution systems.
make it possible to borrow specic functions from
ones trading partners. The current highly inte- 6.2.2. Lack of exibility in adapting to changing
grated nature of ERP prevents this exibility. supply chain needs
In our discussion of these shortcomings, we will When discussing exibility, one should distin-
also emphasize alternatives to current ERP sys- guish this concept at dierent levels ranging from
tems. Therefore, we will take into account not just purely operational to more strategic. In Section 2,
the products available from the leading ERP we discussed supply chain design versus supply
vendors but also the oerings from the ourishing chain coordination. An IT system should be suf-
industry of supply-chain-oriented complementary ciently exible to change as customers are asking
software. These companies are developing tools for dierent kinds or dierent quantities of prod-
specically for such functions as advanced plan- ucts. This is supply chain coordination. ERP is
ning and scheduling (APS) and specic business capable of supporting such coordination.
processes, such as demand planning, customer Our panel, however, was emphasizing that
order management, warehouse management, exibility with ERP systems appears to be more
among others. This ecosystem of applications can problematic in supply chain design. For instance, a
be glued together by dedicated connectivity tools, single organization might have dierent types of
allowing applications to communicate with each relationships with its supplier and customer base.
other, occasionally via the Internet Protocol, but Its ERP system should be suciently exible to
also via e-mail based connections, classic EDI, or accommodate a multitude of relationships. Some
XML. suppliers may have adopted VMI, some may have
298 H.A. Akkermans et al. / European Journal of Operational Research 146 (2003) 284301

adopted CPFR, and others may still be engaged in require a major expenditure of funds and consid-
a classical vendor/buyer relation. The ERP system erable outside expertise. Lower-level employees
should be able to accommodate all these dierent are aected by the decisions made, since they are
modes of collaboration simultaneously and be able the end users of any new process, technology or
to change eciently from one mode to another. equipment. However, they are not typically in-
Gartner Institute emphasizes that the ability to volved in the decision making process and the
engage intoand disengage fromcollaborative implementation, since these are considered the
relationships is of critical importance. Even more domain of experts. In other words, lower-level
problematic will be situations in which the com- employees are trained on the use of the new tech-
position of the actors in the supply chain fre- nology, but they are not consulted during the
quently changes from one customer order to selection and implementation phases.
another, i.e., when the supply chain becomes in- This is in stark contrast with the experience in
creasingly market responsive (Fisher, 1997). the manufacturing sector that spent the last two
Another type of exibility that is less specic for decades adopting a continuous improvement ap-
SCM but may be at least as important is the proach within the just-in-time and total quality
possibility to redesign business processes. As sta- management philosophies. Continuous improve-
ted in Section 2, supply chain design is facilitated ment demands considerable involvement at the
not only by a set of enabling information tech- lower and middle levels of an organization, relying
nologies, but also by a set of new and/or rede- upon their intimate, on-going knowledge of the
signed processes. On the one hand, IT cannot operation. Clearly, a better balance between the
enhance supply chain performance unless pro- two approaches is needed for eective ERP im-
cesses and organizational structures are rede- plementations. For instance, in the preparation
signed. On the other hand, process reengineering to our workshop, a European maker of high-tech
relies heavily on the use of IT to create innovative manufacturing equipment complained that con-
processes for enhancing supply chain performance. tinuous improvement initiatives such as just-
Here ERP oers indeed a considerable opportu- in-time manufacturing, kanban control, and set up
nity: when considering implementing an ERP time reduction severely stagnated during and after
system, which will change the way people work, it the ERP implementation.
seems logical to combine this eort with business
process reengineering along the supply chain. 6.2.3. Lack of advanced decision support capabili-
Unfortunately, in an understandable eort to ties
contain the costs, complexity, and duration of A recent trend in the ERP world is the emer-
ERP implementations, many companies have gence of APS. In itself, planning with longer time
adopted a process reengineering approach that is horizons and across dierent units is nothing new
governed by the functionality inherent in the se- for ERP, even for MRP systems. However, as it
lected ERP system. Such an approach typically becomes increasingly apparent that supply chains,
entails the use of business process templates that rather than individual organizations, compete,
reect best practices in a particular industry. This there is an increasing demand for collaborative
is adequate if these best practices actually mean an architectures in decision support software. Ad-
improvement over the current business practices. vanced decision support capabilities used to be the
But, if processes that are being standardized rep- exclusive focus of dedicated APS vendors such
resent a unique source of competitive advantage, as Manugistics, i2 Technologies, Numetrix and
then the ERP implementation will increase the SynQuest. Increasingly, however, ERP vendors
strategic risk of losing such a competitive advan- themselves are entering this arena. The common
tage. view is that, for the moment, they are signicantly
Another long-term disadvantage might stem lagging behind in functionality, but fare much
from the very nature of reengineering initiatives. better when it comes to integration. The dedicated
Such initiatives, typically aimed at strategic leaps, APS vendors exploit their head start by entering
H.A. Akkermans et al. / European Journal of Operational Research 146 (2003) 284301 299

the area of collaborative distributed planning, The ultimate level of sophistication might be
where the focus of the ERP vendors is still very reached when one is able to react to a customer
much on the internal supply chains. order as follows:
The developments in the ATP area are still
very much focused on the internal supply chain. 7. Yes, I can accept your customer order; I will
Currently, the following functionality is usually design a new supply chain specically for you.
discussed:
The state-of-the-art in joint ERP/APS solutions
1. Existing ERP systems can perform an ATP is able to provide real-time support in doing in-
check by checking against inventory levels (or ternal ATP/CTP checks as mentioned under (1)
the MPS) and provide answers like Yes, I and (2). For cross-enterprise collaboration, tech-
can accept your order because I have inventory nologies are just entering the market. Examples
available, or it ts within my MPS. might be found in Microsofts Value Chain Ini-
2. APS systems that have real-time access to enter- tiative or i2 Technologies Intelligent E-Business
prise data can do capable to promise (CTP) Initiative. Both initiatives dene an architecture,
checks: Yes, I can accept your order, because heavily relying on Internet technology, that allows
I have spare capacity that I can use to produce real-time communication between ERP systems,
your order. Additional functionality would transport and warehouse management systems,
check not only on the technical feasibility of and APS systems.
the order, but also on its protability: Yes, I
will accept your order because I have capacity 6.2.4. Lack of open, modular system architecture
available, and it is protable (enough) for me A fourth group of shortcomings mentioned by
to allocate this capacity to meet your require- our panel of experts was that current ERP systems
ments. lack a modular, open, and internet-like system
3. A next level of sophistication will be reached architecture, or web-enabled ERP as one sub-
when such CTP checks are performed in an group called it. Basically, this shortcoming is the
engineer-to-order environment: This would reverse side of some of the generic advantages of
provide answers like Yes, I can design a ERP listed in Section 3, where we noted that ERP
new product for you, and yes, it is protable was intended originally to replace a multitude of
for me to do so. local legacy systems; a great deal of emphasis was
therefore placed on its integrated architecture. In
By including the capabilities of other supply the new networked economy, this former strength
chain partners, yet another level of sophistication is rapidly becoming a weakness. Upon and
can be obtained. Rephrasing the three levels, the McAfee (2000) further discuss the handicaps of the
possible answers would then become: lack of an open modular ERP system architecture.

4. Yes, I can accept your order, because through-


out the supply chain products and materials are 7. Conclusion
available.
5. Yes, I can accept your order because I have Several management and academic writers have
spare capacity, my suppliers have capacity to recently asserted that the advent of the network
produce subassemblies, my logistic service pro- economy is fundamentally changing prevailing
vider is able to deliver the product at the mo- business models in general and SCM in particular.
ment you need it, and the overall landed cost The relevant entity for analyzing potential busi-
does make this order commercially attractive. ness success is no longer the individual rm, but
6. Yes, I can accept your order because I as well the chain of delivering and supplying organiza-
as my supply chain partners have development tions; the individual rm is only a single part of
capacity available. this network. This greatly increases the importance
300 H.A. Akkermans et al. / European Journal of Operational Research 146 (2003) 284301

of supply chain management for corporate sur- supply chain transparency easy to achieve, supply
vival. This study has conrmed this assertion by chain collaboration is still an ill-understood con-
asking a panel of 23 European SCM executives cept. Research in supply-chain-wide performance
their assessments of key SCM trends. assessment and incentive design is necessary to
Of a much more exploratory nature are this provide a sound theoretical basis to complement
studys ndings regarding the impact of current these technological advances.
ERP systems on these SCM trends. The general
conclusion to be taken from our Delphi study is
Acknowledgements
that one should not expect too much from ERP
for SCM in extended enterprises. Perhaps this is
We would like to thank Bart Vos, who was the
not surprising. ERP systems have become a de
initiator for the collaborative research reported
facto standard in business because they replace a
here, Origin managers Paul de Cort and Wiebe
patchwork of local legacy systems. Once ERP is
Cnossen who kindly funded this research, and Inge
installed, there exists a process-oriented enterprise
Bartelds and Erwin van Schaik for their enthusi-
transaction backbone that can supportwithin a
astic collaboration in this project. Michiel van
single rmdevelopments in many business areas,
Genuchten expertly facilitated the use of the
including SCM. But ERP systems were never de-
GDSS employed in our Delphi workshop. This
signed just to support SCM, and certainly not
project was partly funded by INSEAD Research
across multiple enterprises. Their architectural
Grant No. 2010-249R.
advantage of being fully integrated for one rm
becomes a strategic disadvantage in this new
business environment, where modular, open and References
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